Never Walk Alone

I’ll never forget the creepiest class I took at UNCG. I was in a “history of horror films” class that met for three hours every Thursday night. It was a blast, scared me to death, but it was such a blast. Sure, some parts of the class teetered on the “this is too much that I want in my mind,” but with an understanding professor, it ended up being a fantastic experience. The only bad part was, by the time the class had ended at nine, the campus was empty. It was dark and eerie, and after talking about horror, it made for a bad combination. I learned that walking to the bus pickup spot was really creepy alone, but luckily, I made a friend in the class who also went to the bus stop. After Jamal and I decided to go together, the creepy night wasn’t so bad.

It’s funny how much of a difference that made, and the same can be true with many different things as well. It helps to have a workout partner to keep you motivated. Going to the movies is a lot more fun when you can talk about what you just saw over milkshakes (Now I want milkshakes). Playing board games with a group leads to lots of laughter. While these are pretty surface level things, when it comes to more serious matters, we choose to walk alone.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Submit: Leading When You Aren’t in Charge

I want to talk about something that makes the punk/rebel kid in me not want to talk about. The idea of submission is something that is important for all of us, something that truly allows us to lead others in the full potential we have. Before I go further, when I use the term submit or submission, I am not going to be talking about letting someone else take advantage or manipulate you. If you are being manipulated or someone is abusing power over you, that it not biblical or right in any way (I will provide resources at the end if you are in any danger. You are worth loving). When I talk about this term, I am meaning the way we can understand that there are authorities in our life that have been placed in authority for a reason. This is something that I have been learning in my current season of life, being able to submit to the authority above me. The reason why this is so important, as leaders and followers of Christ, is because God has given us spiritual authority to follow and he is our ultimate authority. When we contradict or go against the authorities he has given, we end up hurting ourselves. In 1 Peter, there is a moment in chapter 2 that speaks to this idea of submission. I definitely recommend that you read it, but I want to focus on one key verse. I Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone. Love the family of believers. Have respect for God. Honor the emperor.”

Continue reading

Responsibility for All

The past few weeks for our world have been incredibly distressing. There have been mass killings, anger, and hatred from all over. In America we are in the midst of a presidential race, one in which both sides are fueled by hatred of the other, with us as citizens being caught in their crossfire. We’ve seen our own people turn on each other because of choices by sinful men. We see the media like CNN and Fox News have a constant stream of these events causing myself and others to fear, while they also push bias onto us. Our world is chaotic, it is a lost place, and it needs Jesus. I wish we lived in a world that was peaceful and we never had to struggle, but the truth is, we will never obtain that on our own. This all steams from the first sin, when Adam and Eve chose to live independently from God. That choice created a disconnect, one that separated us from God. In that, the world was introduced to sin, so God chose to send his son much later into the world. Jesus was fully man and fully God, and in so he died for us and rose again. Because of that act, we can enter back into a relationship with Christ. I hope you have made that choice, and if you have, it has left you with a responsibility. You see, while Jesus was on earth, he taught everyone he could about the word and how to act. His teachings on the way we should be, is the responsibility, and it is one we all must follow if we want to see change.

Continue reading

You Make the Difference

Vulnerability moment: Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m making an impact. I love serving and do it each week because I love speaking life into others, but there are moments where I wonder if any of what I do means anything to anyone. I know that this isn’t true, when we serve others we make the difference, but it isn’t always easy to feel that way. I think the same is true for you. In your job, in your home, at the church where you volunteer; you have a hard time believing that people actually see the difference you make and the skills you bring to the table. We can feel unnoticed, wanting to be given a thank you or a simple thought from someone confirming that you do matter, but we don’t always get that. Now before I go any further, I want to make it clear that this isn’t a post for me trying to get anything from, I simply am trying to be vulnerable because I think we get into places where we feel this way. We have an active enemy that is trying to twist your thoughts to make you feel worthless, powerless, and alone. I want to help you win at life because you have a creator that says you are worth it. Your life has value. You make the difference.

Continue reading

Pieces

There is something I have noticed in the bible. Over the past year I have been reading the works of Paul and focusing in on the wisdom that he had when it comes to a relationship with Christ. He is such a powerful writer, his letters went to each place where he addressed key aspects of their life that they needed to re-order. Each book is a letter, which caused me to stop and think, I love writing (I mean, why else would I do this each week!) and often I will analyze how another writer works because I want to grow my skills. My brain started thinking about Paul, and there is something that he does in each letter, each book that he authored in the bible, which have one common device. In each letter, he opens with a personal greeting to each of the churches, and ends with a final charge for that church. The content is different, but the opening and closing are always intentionally the same. He personally calls out to each church and ends with a prayer over them and gives them credit for the work that they are doing and continue to do. You see, I think Paul knew something very important, something that we as leaders in our communities need to understand and realize, the pieces make up the puzzle.

Continue reading

Invincible

One of the biggest lies we are told is that with we can overcome anything if we put our mind to it. We struggle and the world around us tells us to just power through it, that you are the only one holding you back. Life has us face some of the hardest struggles and deepest hurts that it throws our way, and we feel helpless. We feel like we should be stronger, that we should be invincible, especially as a believer we feel like we shouldn’t be struggling. We all struggle, yet we feel like we are the only ones. I know for me I look at others around me and feel like they have unlocked the secret to being invincible. Then there’s the other side, when life is going great. We aren’t having any issues, life seems to finally be at peace, and we start to feel invincible. This is what I like to call the “invincibility curse.” I know, it sounds pretty cool, I came up with that on my own. Okay, back down to earth. I like to call it this because we all have faced one or both of the symptoms to this curse. We either face situations where we are frustrated by the fact that we aren’t invincible, or we let our guard down when we are in times of peace. The reality of this curse is the fact that we are striving for invincibility, rather than relying on God at all times in our life. We have made invincibility an idol, losing sight of what really matters.

Continue reading

Speaking Truth in Love, Fighting the Curse of the Manipulator

I think leaders have a problem. It’s a problem that is very easy to slip into once anyone steps into leadership. It has many names, the most notable being the “toxic boss syndrome,” but it stems from the problem of being a manipulator. We are all at the risk of falling into this type of behavior because it’s one of the biggest ways the enemy tries to get us to fall. I’m continuing this series on leadership, the past few weeks I’ve been looking at what makes a good leader from the bible. This is designed to help you, because I think that everyone has the capacity and capability to be a leader, and being a leader is hard. We are attacked in every direction, people will start to tear you down to see you fail, and we have the danger of being a manipulator. I think we’ve all at one point in time had to work for a boss or volunteer under a boss, notice that I’m not saying leader. A boss is someone with power over another individual, their primary objective is to use what you have to make them look better. A leader is someone that sees the potential in those under them and provides them with opportunity to rise above, even if it means sending them out of your ministry. This seems backwards, but when we equip leaders that are looking up to us, we help change the world. Imagine what would happen if we never pushed people to do more, to stay complacent in their lives. What a sad world that would be! God calls us to be leaders who speak truth in love, not bosses that manipulate for their own gain.

Continue reading

What I Learned at Orange Conference 2016: Monday is Coming

This past week I had the opportunity for the second time to go to the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is a next generation conference, designed to equip and empower next gen leaders for their ministry. It gave tools and new ideas that could be incorporated into ministry, and I loved it. It was such a refreshing week to be able to feel empowered about my passion for reaching the next generation and equipping next gen leaders to be the best they can be. The theme of the conference was, “Monday is Coming,” which was all about how we need to be intentional about the way we partner with kids and students throughout the week. So often we can get caught up in what we do Sunday, making sure everything is just right and that we have the best experience, we forget that the students have an entire week without us. We should shift our thinking to the idea that Sunday is pre-Monday. The first speaker of the night was Jon Acuff, and awesome speaker and writer that I look up to, and he made the point that people visit on Sunday, but they live in Monday. The church as a whole often fails at this idea, we get so caught up with programs and systems we forget that these people are only here for a short time in the morning, but they have an entire week filled with life, and life gets hard. It’s easy to forget that people have lives outside of what we see on Sunday, we experience death, failure, and heartache; we experience Monday. Everyone faces these trials and pain, especially kids and students. I know that they experience it, because I experienced it. I am so thankful for my home church of Daystar, because the leaders there know how important the week is. The thing I love about it is that it’s a place where the leaders care what happens in the lives of the people, I can about the lives of the students in my small group. Sunday is a good thing, but the value of walking with someone through their Monday can change their life forever.

Continue reading

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

I know what you’re probably thinking, isn’t that Smokey the Bear’s slogan? Why yes, it is in fact! It’s a slogan that pretty much everyone in America has heard before, any National Park has a picture of Smokey somewhere warning campers and hikers alike to be cautious with fire. Commercials tell us that just one match can devastate a forest if we aren’t careful with it. I think the same could be said about our responsibility as a leader. Now before you start to question what I’m even saying, I’m not saying that as a leader you need to watch out for setting a fire. What I am talking about is your responsibility to not start a spiritual fire. We live in a world filled with choices and we see people all around us make compromises of what they believe. We often see leaders in high positions misuse the influence they have, treating others as lesser people or speaking painful words over them in order to grow in status. We try to push others down in order to gain a higher viewpoint, but this will only end in devastation. God has given you all a position to lead, he designed you with a purpose. Your purpose is to bring others into the kingdom. If this is our purpose, why do we misuse our power? Instead of becoming the hero who rescues and saves others from falling, we become a villain drunk with power.

Continue reading

Being a Leader Is Hard, so Let’s Lead

Being a leader is hard work. It requires you to be strong when others aren’t, make tough decisions, and stand for what you believe is right; but we are all called to be leaders. A leader is simply one who leads a group, pretty basic stuff right? What this looks like is simple, yet complex. That’s one of the things that never ceases to amaze me, how simple God works to do incredible things. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” You see, we were specially designed by God, made in his image, he gave us abilities and talents that are unlike anyone else. He made us, but we have a calling that he gives each of you, use what he has given you to do good works. Those good works are simply serving others, treating others as you want to be treated.

Continue reading